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CLAS 0046 Greek Epic

The earliest texts of Western literature were created in performance by illiterate bards, and yet they offer richness and complexity in their storytelling, characterisation and moral outlook. The Iliad explores the tragedy and glory of being a hero, with martial frenzy, but also pathos and forgiveness. The Odyssey responds to the Iliad and contrasts with it, incorporating fantasy, folktale and realism, and building up to the dramatic climax of Odysseus's revenge against the suitors of his wife Penelope.

Texts:

The Iliad

The Odyssey

Sample topics:

  1. Divine spectators and domestic dramas on Olympus
  2. Foreshadowing, flashbacks and the structure of the Iliad
  3. Gods, heroes and morality
  4. Mortal women and goddesses
  5. The heroism of Hector and Achilles
  6. The epic simile and formulaic structures
  7. Stories and story-tellers in the Odyssey
  8. The Trojan War in history and archaeology

There is no language requirement for this tutorial: all texts are taught in English translation.  However, if you do have the relevant language skills then it can be taught through the original texts: contact the Senior Tutor to discuss this.

The perfect environment
Located in the heart of Oxford, CMRS was the perfect environment for the pursuit of erudite learning and personal improvement.  When I was not studyi...
Garrett Fehner, Autumn Semester 2008, St Mary's College of Maryland